It’s not often that you get a chance to have a nosey around top law firms, particularly if you are a first year LLB student. There are firms, however, who do open their doors to first years through insight days or workshops. These open days can be super competitive; some firms even require students to take online tests as well as submit a written application in order to win a place. This is exactly the kind of process you'll need to undertake to get a training contract, though, so it's all good practice.
What is a law open day?
Open days usually last a day, sometimes two. They are designed to give you an insight into the firm and information about starting your legal career. Students usually get the chance to meet employees, have a look around the firm, watch presentations and participate in workshops.
It’s not a free-for-all and there are usually a strict number of places. After all, law firms don’t want hundreds of students crawling all over their offices. Places are usually allocated on the strength of application forms or on a first-come, first-served basis.
What should I do to impress on an open day?
Put on your baddest suit, brown-nose everyone you see, and hyperventilate if you don’t get face-to-face time with a partner? Of course not. Don’t fret too much about open days; firms don’t expect to hire straight from them. Instead, it’s your chance to find out as much as you can about the firm, their practice areas, and life as a lawyer. Make sure you listen carefully, ask plenty of questions and chat to people on the day.
If it helps, you might want to think up some questions to ask different types of employees (e.g. trainees, associates, members of the graduate recruitment team, partners etc.) beforehand. It’s also worth reading up on the firm, so you can ask about things you can’t easily learn from their website.
Otherwise, get stuck in, look engaged and, most importantly, enjoy yourself! It’s a great opportunity to sniff out your options and decide which firms are the right fit for you.
Which firms offer first year open days?
Enough talk, here are some of the top firms that offer open days for first years:
Addleshaw Goddard: 1st Year Open Day
Allen & Overy: Open Days
Berwin Leighton Paisner: Introduction to Law Open Day
Clifford Chance: First Year Springboard Scheme
CMS Cameron Mckenna: Open Day
DLA Piper: First Year Insight Day
Eversheds: The Big Deal
Freshfields: First Year Focus Programme
Herbert Smith Freehills: First Year Workshop
Hogan Lovells: Open Days and Easter Vacation Scheme
Mayer Brown: Open Day
Norton Rose Fulbright: Open Day
Slaughter & May: First Year Open Day
Stephenson Harwood: Open Day